Balearic doctors protesting in Palma. | Twitter: SATSE

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On Tuesday members of the SATSE union staged a protest in front of Congress to demand quality healthcare and the unblocking of the Patient Safety Law.

Doctors they are so overloaded with patients that they are concerned about the level of care they’re giving and worry they might make errors in diagnosis or treatment.

The lack of resources in health centres has deteriorated even more due to the pandemic; there are not enough doctors and yet the number of patients is growing.

“We spend less and less time with patients and that generates a context of risk in functions, as well as misunderstandings and conflicts,” said Medical Union President, Dr Miguel Lázaro.

“We work with a general malaise,” says Dr Fernando García Romanos from Santa Catalina Health Centre, who claims the Balearic Islands has the highest ratio of patients per doctor.

"The lack of time with patients increases the risk of making a wrong diagnosis or arranging the wrong treatment and that’s a breeding ground for aggression," he adds.

The President of Semergen en Balears, the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians points out that patients are going to the Emergency room instead of their doctor because of the long waiting time for consultations. “More people are being sent to specialists and the waiting lists just keep growing."

“There is a lack of doctors and the administration must get its act together because it’s just not feasible to see 50 patients a day,” insists Dr Kostan Doganis from the Establishments Basic Health Unit. “In addition to having full agendas, we have to attend to emergencies and with such a high volume of patients we cannot provide quality care. When Salut talks about hiring, it’s referring to administrative staff or security guards, not doctors."

It’s the same story at Can Pastilla Health Centre in Palma.

"I see so many people that, of course, I could be wrong, it's a shame but it's a reality that worries doctors," admits Dr Vicente Reyes. "There's nothing worse than leaving your practice with a bad taste in your mouth because you think you haven't done all you could. It creates a lot of dissatisfaction, at least for me, because you never finish at 3 o’clock, it's always later and even then, you still have the feeling you haven't done what you wanted, how you wanted."